We left our apartment in Utah Friday afternoon after taking way too much time searching high and low for Justin's phone, which we never found. We decided to take it easy getting to Colorado Springs, and do some exploring on the way. Our first day of driving was the longest, and we decided to head towards Vernal, and camp in Dinosaur National Monument. There is a really beautiful campground there right next to the Green River. We stopped along the way to get a picture of Devil's Slide. I've seen pictures of it before, but I wanted to get a good look at it in person.
|It looks man-made to me, but allegedly it's not|
|The view from our campsite|
|It's really pretty down there, and some day when the kids are older and it isn't spring runoff I want to float it.|
|She was repeatedly asked to stop laying in the stickers. She was covered in them.|
We had dinner and called it an early night, going down with the sun. We no longer all fit on the queen air mattress. I can sleep on the ground, but I've done that enough with the Army, so when I camp on my own I prefer to do it comfy style with an air mattress. Justin offered to take the ground, and weirdly Vivian insisted on joining him. We really didn't expect her to last down there very long, but she spent the night on the ground cuddled up to her dad. You won't ever find a bigger daddy's girl. It's very cute. The next morning Justin woke up in time for sunrise and snuck out of the tent early for some pictures.
The rest of us still woke up pretty early and we had camp packed up and were at the visitor's center by 0900. We initially wanted to do a little bit of hiking. We drove both cars here, so I left Justin in the parking lot with both kids in his car and ran inside for a map. While I was in line waiting for a ranger to assist me a man came through the front doors, walked up to me and asked if I was the owner of the CRV out there. I answered that I am, and he told me that it's unlocked and that he knew that it was unlocked because he was parked next to me, forgot something in his car, turned around and opened mine on accident. I told him that my husband is sitting in the car right next to it, and his response was "well he didn't say anything to me when I opened it." Justin reported that he did watch the whole thing happen, and his only remark was "yeah, it was weird." Glad he wasn't a thief I guess.
As it turned out the wind was kind of a problem that morning. It was so strong that just walking through the parking lot I could hear Ivan struggling to catch his breath, so hiking was ruled out. We settled for riding the little tram up to see the bones. Vivian loved it. She loved riding the "bus." She loved touching the dinosaur bones, and well...she played with the rocks in the exhibit. I'm pretty sure that's not something you're supposed to do in the exhibit, but she did. She wasn't hurting anything, so the only person that said anything was her dad when he spotted her creating a mound of little rocks on the walkway.
|Ivan struggling to get in his morning nap in the ergo.|
|The area where you're invited to touch a real dinosaur bones. Those rocks she is standing on are the ones that got piled onto the walkway.|
We left the visitor's center and drove into the Colorado side of the monument. There are some really nice overlooks into a pretty spectacular canyon on that side. We've attempted to see it before, but we were turned around by the craziest lightening storm that either of us have ever seen. I was frankly nervous about repeating the experience this time, but aside from the ridiculous wind, the weather was fine.
That took up a huge chunk of our day. We ate lunch and then set off for Eagle, Colorado where we had a hotel booked for the night. On the way there we took a very little detour to Rifle Falls State Park. It was beautiful. You can tell that the area around the falls has been groomed and cleaned up a lot, but I think it's well done, and we enjoyed the break from the car.
We stopped for dinner, and rolled into Eagle, Colorado just after sunset. It was supposed to be a 3.5 hour drive from Dinosaur National Monument to Eagle. It took us all day. At that point we'd been in the car long enough to have driven to Colorado Springs and halfway back again. We knew that we were pushing our luck with the kids. We agreed that night that the next morning would be a straight shot to our extended stay hotel.
|Vivian and I at the second overlook.|
|We drove by this reservoir on the way out to the falls. The water color was really amazing.|
|There's a hike up to behind the falls|
|Ivan found the water to be captivating|
|There was also a hiking trail to the top of the falls where Justin practiced with different camera settings.|
So that's what we did. We took our time getting out the next morning. Maybe that wasn't a great idea. We got stuck in traffic between Denver and the springs. All the same, we arrived late in the afternoon, and pulled into our home for the next 60 days.
The dirt parking lot (not sure that's really visible in the picture), and the sign from the fifties had Justin and I feeling a little uncertain about things. We kept kind of repeating back and forth to each other that it had great reviews online while we sat outside waiting for someone in the office to show up (they're closed on Sunday, so we had to call and wait for someone). The office did nothing to reassure me. When someone did arrive we were greeted into a dimly lit office that appeared to have a makeshift partition put up to block a view into a private residence. The guy behind the counter was bundled in a winter coat (it was probably 75 degrees outside), and the maintenance man could play a convict on TV with no problem. However, the "suite" is small, but super clean, and the maintenance man was extremely nice. One amusing feature is that our suite is equipped with only one knife:
My suspicion is that they bought one knife set and each suite gets one knife from the set. Lucky us, we got the meat cleaver! Thank goodness for the kitchen section of the Dollar Tree! Justin is outraged that their cable package does not include ESPN, but on the whole we're liking our extended stay.
|Home Sweet Home|
|I feel like a grill should be included if this is the knife that's being supplied|